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The language of the peace agreement (or other documents that contain the authority to establish a JMC) is likely to be quite general. In Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, understanding the mission meant understanding the following definitions from the GFAP and COMIFOR's SOP:

  • Agreed Cease-Fire Line (ACFL): The Cease Fire line, as marked on the 1:50,000 scale map at Dayton.

  • Bilateral Meeting: Formal and informal IFOR meeting with only one FWF military representative (usually commander) present.

  • The Entities: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Muslim and Croat alliance) and the Republika Srpska (Serbs).

  • Forces: All personnel and organizations with military capability under the Parties' control or within territory under control of the Parties, including armed civilian groups, national guards, Army reserve, military police and the ministry of Internal Affairs Special Police. (UNPROFOR, the International Police Task Force (IPTF), and the IFOR were not included in this definition of Forces).

  • Factions: Not defined in the GFAP or Statement of Procedures, but often used operationally as a substitute for the GFAP's word "forces." Often used as part of the phrase "Former Warring Factions" (FWF) to describe the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina (ABiH), Croat Defense Council (HVO), and Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS).

  • Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL): The boundary between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republika Srpska, as delineated on the maps attached to the Peace Agreement (in some cases IEBL and ACFL were the same).

  • Joint Military Commission (JMC) Meetings: Formally established meetings with two or more FWF military representatives (usually commanders). At such meetings, the FWFs met under IFOR supervision to coordinate joint activities, disseminate intent and instructions, and to resolve differences.

  • The Parties: GFAP signatories, including the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republika Srpska; also used to describe those governments' political and civil representatives.

  • Zone of Separation (ZOS): An area normally extending to approximately 2 km on either side of the ACFL or IEBL. Around Sarajevo, the ZOS was approximately 1 km on either side of the ACFL. The ZOS was a quasi-demilitarized zone in which IFOR exercised complete authority over faction military operations and closely monitored civil police activities.

There may be practical, political reasons for the lack of specifics, as was the case in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR. For example, the parties may not have been able to agree on the specifics during the peace negotiations, or the required technical expertise was not available during the initial negotiations. In addition, a peace agreement is likely to contain unusual language or phrasing. Such language may suggest subjects or provisions about which the parties to the agreement are particularly sensitive.


* Commanders should not create the perception of negotiability on non-negotiable terms. Publish, distribute, and discuss treaty language and policy statements with all factions present at JMC meetings.

* Make equally clear the JMC's authority to interpret treaty language and policy statements. If factions disagree with specifics points in the agreement, have them state what they object to and why. Senior commanders should seek advice from those who negotiated the peace agreement and others involved in the political process on possible compromises to overcome underlying disagreements.

* Commanders should not assume unusual language is a mistake or a translation error. Diplomats are normally quite careful in their choice of words. It is important to understand the intent of the parties to the treaty or agreement, and whether there are any underlying issues, interests or sensitivities.

* Gathering information about the preferences, positions, and understandings of the parties regarding the peace agreement should become critical intelligence collection requirements.

NOTE: Establishing dialogue with very senior diplomats may step outside the usual scope of contact at the operational and tactical levels. It is essential that the commander and his staff have a clear understanding of what was agreed to by the parties, what aspiration the negotiators had for each measure, and what the signatories thought they agreed to by signing any form of agreement. It is also important that members of the factions understand what their leaders have agreed upon. Often, details of any agreement can only be passed through the IFOR chain of command.


The authority of the JMC process comes from the consent of the governmental leaders who signed the treaty agreeing to establish the body and empowering it to make decisions. This foundation agreement will most likely be a formal written document, such as a peace agreement signed at the national level.


* Military commanders using the JMC process must recognize the JMC's powers under the treaty to serve as mediator or arbitrator to decide disputes among parties, or as facilitator for a discussion forum.

* Equally important is the need for authorized faction JMC representatives to be empowered with decisionmaking authority. This foundational agreement creates a political dynamic, linking consent-authority-compliance, which the IFOR commander can exploit. However tenuous or feeble this consent-authority-compliance linkage may appear initially, it is, nevertheless, the starting point.

Task Force Eagle JMC Operations
Figure II - 1

Figure II-1 delineates Task Force Eagle's integration of brigade-level peace enforcement operations and staff assessment of compliance (indicators), based upon the measures of success. The JMC section organized the many staff inputs and nominated compliance assessments for COMEAGLE's approval.

During Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, JMC, Bilateral, and Work Coordination Meetings formed the basis for coordination and cooperation, as well as quasi-command and control of faction operations.

  • Meetings with multiple factions, referred to as JMC meetings, initially were formal, agenda-focused conferences. JMC meetings provided the broad overview of what needed to be accomplished; IFOR and faction commanders' intentions, policies, and procedures were to be applied even-handedly across all factions.

  • Bilateral meetings were one-on-one meetings between IFOR and only one FWF commander, and provided specifics on how the tasks would be executed and verified.

  • Work coordination meetings brought together low-level commanders and staffs from IFOR and factions to coordinate the specific operation/task to be accomplished by the factions.

NOTE: A key lesson learned from JMC and bilateral meetings is that U.S./NATO/ Coalition commanders, from division to company level, must chair these meetings. Although bilateral meetings are less formal than JMC meetings, a hospitable location should be chosen; a neutral site in proximity to both factions (i.e., in the ZOS) is best.

Section I: Introduction
Section II: Policy, Part 2

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